How Trauma Can Fuel Addictive Behavior

Addiction is a complex issue, and no two people have the same journey through it. Many biological and environmental factors contribute to the development of addiction. Research suggests that trauma is closely linked to addiction. Addiction specialists know that people who have a history of trauma are more likely to abuse substances. This allows them to develop a trauma therapy program that can help people overcome their addiction while healing the effects of their trauma.

If you or someone you love require trauma-informed substance abuse treatment, you are not alone. The staff at the Northern Illinois Recovery Center work to empower people with a history of trauma so they can move past their addiction. If you are ready for life-changing treatment, call 855.786.1978 or fill out an online intake form here.

Do I Need Trauma Therapy?

Most people have stress in their life. In most cases, we can use coping mechanisms to manage our daily lives while under stress. However, some events in people’s lives are too stressful or difficult to manage using everyday coping skills. Trauma is a prolonged emotional response that happens after an intensely stressful event that can affect a person’s ability to function well. Getting trauma therapy is an important step in helping to overcome the effects of trauma.

Some examples of traumatic events include:

  • Surviving or witnessing an assault
  • Death of a loved one
  • Surviving a car accident or plane crash
  • Experiencing child abuse or neglect
  • Terminal illness
  • Natural disaster
  • Combat or military service
  • Difficult or complicated labor or birth
  • Emotional abuse

This is not an exhaustive list. When you felt your life was in danger or felt intimidated, afraid, or unsafe can result in trauma. Trauma does not always develop immediately after the event. It can take days, weeks, or even years to experience the effects of trauma, and symptoms can change over time.

How Does Trauma Affect Addiction?

Untreated trauma can linger for years. It causes a variety of symptoms that can disrupt a person’s ability to function or live comfortably. These symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Ongoing and intense anxiety or fear
  • Irritability
  • Low self-esteem
  • Avoiding people, places, or events that remind you of the trauma
  • Reliving the event in your mind
  • Relationship problems

Without learning healthy coping skills, people often resort to drugs or alcohol to numb or dull the emotional symptoms of their trauma. Research suggests that about 65% of people who get addiction treatment report a history of trauma. The link between trauma and addiction is strong. People who live with addiction and trauma must receive substance abuse treatment that also addresses their trauma for it to be effective.

What Happens in a Trauma Therapy Program?

Trauma therapy is designed to help you address and heal your trauma in a safe, supportive place. It can be a long process, but the effects of healing your trauma are well worth the time and effort. Many people find that when they can effectively cope with their trauma symptoms, they can also work through their addiction.

Trauma therapy has several goals. They include:

  • Helping you identify the cause of your trauma
  • Identifying how trauma has affected your development
  • Identifying and naming the emotions involved in your trauma
  • Learning effective, healthy coping skills to help manage your emotions
  • Setting goals for the future

A trauma therapy program might use Cognitive-behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, group therapy, or other evidence-based techniques to help you heal your trauma. Your treatment plan will be tailored to meet your unique needs and help you move forward.

Learn More About Trauma Therapy at the Northern Illinois Recovery Center

If you or someone you love struggle with addiction and need trauma-informed treatment, reach out to the staff at the Northern Illinois Recovery Center. We offer programs designed to empower and support people at every stage of their journey through addiction. In addition to trauma therapy, we offer:

You do not have to manage the effects of your trauma or addiction alone. Get the treatment you need and deserve today by calling 855.786.1978.